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Word from the Chair for staff

Dear Colleagues, as we turn our attention to holding the exams, getting through those last online meetings, and wondering how we can reorganize those holiday plans, I’d like to send you all a short but sincere word of encouragement and thanks to close off 2021.

We have been through a year that for me felt like constantly needing to shift gears and perspectives. The sudden lockdown of last weekend is just the latest example of policy change requiring us all to reconsider what we are doing and how we are going to get it done. This uncertainty has been felt strongly by all of you but also by our students, and they have passed that uncertainty on to many of us in the form of justifiable questions about online teaching, travel arrangements, and Corona regulations. It generated extra burdens as we tried to show compassion while also staying within the guidelines. I think we managed extremely well, even if it wasn’t always easy.

As we end a second year dominated by Corona, the pioneer spirit that got us through 2020 has inevitably waned. What I hope and trust is that the spirit has been replaced by a solid belief in what we can do as a collective. We can look back on significant developments – the move to Schouwburgstraat, the setting up of our own ‘minor equivalent’, another successful in-person graduation, the expansion of our core teaching team. We have very positive feedback from our 2021 first-year intake concerning their experience with International Studies. We have every reason to feel that we are part of an educational programme that really delivers, and that it does so because of the input and insight of every single person involved. And this gives me all the confidence that we will continue to do so, whatever 2022 may throw at us. The foundations are strong, and that is reassuring. Lets build on them.

But this upbeat message does not mean taking everything for granted. Far from it. Improvements are always possible and desirable. We seek just and fair outcomes for all, and we will be supportive of all efforts that improve opportunities for personal advancement. I look forward to working with you all in the New Year to achieve our mutual goals. Happy holidays, and 2022? Bring it on!

Giles Scott-Smith

Programme Chair, BA International Studies

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